Online Nursing Cags

Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies in Nursing
(Family Nurse Practitioner Track)

Program Overview

Are you a licensed, registered nurse with a Master of Science in Nursing? Have you ever considered advancing your career as a family nurse practitioner? Then the Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies - FNP program is a good fit for you.

This program is designed to meet the needs of the individual who already has a Master of Science in Nursing and desires to become eligible for national certification and advance practice licensure as a Family Nurse Practitioner. This program provides the formal education and clinical experience needed for advance practice primary care of individuals across the lifespan.

Innovative Programs

Our program allows the MSN-prepared nurse to expand his/her specialty training and become eligible for advance practice certification as a Family Nurse Practitioner. The plan of study includes all required advanced practice core courses as well as clinically related courses. Similar advanced practice core course content may be demonstrated in the student’s previous master’s program. At the discretion of the FNP Program Coordinator, some of these previously attained core courses may be accepted. Although a second MSN degree is not awarded for completion of the required credits and corresponding clinical practicum hours, a certificate of completion is awarded that provides eligibility for FNP certification.

With the exception of three required on-campus residencies, the coursework in the CAGS program is completely online.

The Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies in Nursing:

  • Is a flexible online program;
  • Includes a minimum 630 hours of supervised clinical practicum;
  • Emphasizes diagnosing and managing common primary care problems through comprehensive physical and psychosocial assessment, decision-making/diagnostic reasoning processes, and health maintenance, including health promotion and disease prevention;
  • Prepares the Family Nurse Practitioner for practice in a variety of community-based practice settings such as: private medical offices/practices, community health clinics, general practice and specialty clinics, ambulatory care centers, home care programs, school settings, etc.;
  • Emphasizes the implementation of evidence-based practice in the implementation of all role components of the Family Nurse Practitioner;
  • Stresses participation in and use of research translation and application, implementation of health policy, leadership, education, case management, and consultation.

Mandatory Orientation

This program holds a mandatory orientation for new students in May prior to the start of classes. These dates are announced well in advance and students are expected to attend and participate in every day of orientation for its entirety. The College’s offer of admission will be rescinded if the student fails to attend and participate in the full orientation.

Residencies and Clinical Hours

This program has two required residencies in addition to orientation. To stay in the program, attendance at these residencies is mandatory.

A minimum of 630 unpaid clinical hours (which are in addition to your work hours) are required by the FNP program. These are earned at a location of your choice pending program director approval. All students are required to find their own clinical sites at a location of their choice pending program director approval. All candidates must possess a valid nursing license in the state where they will complete their clinical experience.

Program Outcomes

Graduates will demonstrate the following outcomes at an advanced practice level of nursing:

  • Provide safe, effective culturally competent and advanced practice nursing care to individuals and families across the lifespan as a member of an interdisciplinary team and in the context of the community;
  • Integrate the core competencies of research, diversity, healthcare policy, ethics, health promotion and theoretical foundation of nursing in advanced practice across the lifespan;
  • Demonstrate a leadership role in the profession of nursing;
  • Engage in ongoing nursing knowledge development to guide practice.

Curricular goals of the Certificate of Advanced Study program

Graduates of the FNP Certificate of Advanced Graduate Studies are eligible to take the Family Nurse Practitioner certification exam given by the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners (AANP) or the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC).

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Prerequisite Requirements

  • A master’s degree in nursing from an accredited program by either Collegiate Commission on Nursing Education (CCNE) or the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission (NLNAC)
  • A post-graduate grade point average of 3.0 (B) or better
  • A valid nursing license in the state in which you intend to complete your clinical experience
  • Current American Heart Association Certification for Healthcare Providers in CPR (BLS)

Please note that applicants are not required to take or repeat the GRE examination.

Curriculum (19-28 credits)

Residency Requirement

In addition to online coursework, the CAGS program requires students to attend two residencies, generally 1-3 days in length, and one orientation during their respective tenure in the program. These residencies include: new student orientation, second residency and final residency in May that coincides with graduation.

CAGS Year One: Summer*

NUR 706 Advanced Pathophysiology

CAGS Year One: Fall*

NUR 707 Advanced Pharmacology

CAGS Year One: Spring*

NUR 703 Advanced Health Assessment Across Lifespan (requires 90 h clinical practicum) 4

CAGS Year Two: Summer

NUR 809 Family Health Nursing I

CAGS Year Two: Fall*

NUR 810 Family Health Nursing II

CAGS Year Two: Spring*

NUR 811 Family Health Nursing III

*Students are responsible for finding their own clinical placements within the respective specialty areas.

*Credits for Advanced Practice Core Courses taken elsewhere cannot be transferred in unless specifically approved by the FNP Program Coordinator. With prior approval up to 9 credits may be transferred.

Tuition & Fees

Students enrolled in all graduate degree programs at MCPHS Online during the 2014–2015 academic year will pay $850/credit hour.

There are no fees in addition to the cost of tuition for MCPHS Online students in the 2014–2015 academic year, so students can estimate that a three-credit course in this program will cost $2550. Books are not included in the cost of tuition and must be factored in separately. The cost of books will vary by course.

Financial Aid

An education is an investment. And we don’t think you’ll find a better return on your investment than by earning your degree from MCPHS University. Our Office of Student Financial Services (SFS) is available to guide students through the process of securing funding to cover education costs. A dedicated staff member will help you apply for financial aid, review all sources of funding available to you and assist you with completing the paperwork necessary for disbursement.

For more information about how to fund your MCPHS University education, contact Student Financial Services at 603.314.1729. Graduate certificate students are not eligible to receive federal aid.


Once your application is received, the Admission Office will notify you of any missing items that we require for your application to be considered complete. We review all files on a "rolling basis" and will make a decision once all application materials are received.

Priority Filing Date

The priority filing date for this program is February 1. We continue to review applications until all available seats in the program have been filled.

Additional Links

Information for MCPHS University Alumni

If you are a graduate of MCPHS University and need to request your transcripts for admission to an MCPHS Online program, please click here to learn how to request your official transcript.


Feel free to call 617.879.5022 or e-mail us with any questions you have about the application process.

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Technical, Non-Academic Standards

In conjunction with the applicable academic and accreditation standards, the faculty in each of the programs at MCPHS University has established certain abilities and characteristics defined as technical standards. Candidates for enrollment in programs at MCPHS University must meet these technical standards, which may include but are not limited to observation, communication, sensory and motor coordination and function, intellectual, conceptual, integrative and quantitative abilities, and behavioral and social attributes. These standards may be met with or without reasonable accommodations. Please carefully review the technical standards for the program to which you have applied. The standards can be found in the MCPHS University College Catalog on the MCPHS University website. If you have questions regarding technical standards, please contact the Office of Admission immediately.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the role of the Family Nurse Practitioner?

The Family Nurse Practitioner (FNP) provides direct patient care. The FNP nursing specialty prepares you to provide comprehensive wellness, acute, episodic, and chronic care to families and individuals across their life spans. FNPs can diagnose and manage most common and many chronic illnesses. Their scope of practice includes: performing physical examinations, ordering and interpreting diagnostic tests, providing counseling and education, and writing prescriptions. FNPs have prescriptive privileges of varying degrees in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Where do Family Nurse Practitioners work?

FNPs practice in a variety of settings both urban and rural including: private offices, walk-in clinics, community health clinics, health departments, college or school clinics and nursing homes.